Cabarete is a small tourist resort town located just 20 minutes from the Puerto Plata airport, on the north shore of the Dominican Republic.
Dominican Republic occupies just over half of the island of Hispaniola, sharing it with Haiti on the west. The country is still poor, even by Caribbean standards. Safety is still a concern in the Dominican Republic, but it shouldn't discourage you from planning a vacation there. Crime consists primarily of theft, robberies, and muggings, and most of it is limited to Santo Domingo. Follow some simple common-sense rules, and you'll be fine.
The greatest threat to the Dominican Republic these days comes from hurricanes, which periodically flatten and devastate entire towns. The hurricane season is usually July to November.
The people of the Dominican Republic are among the friendliest in the Caribbean, and the hospitality here seems genuine. Most local people speak Spanish, although all hotels have staff that is fluent in English. Some locals in the tourist’s areas may surprise you with their excellent German, Swiss, French and Dutch.
It is impossible to forget that, this is the land of the meringue. You will become accustomed to hearing the sexy Merengue everywhere. This music gets your hips moving and your heart racing. Dancing to the Merengue is easy and lots of fun; you should definitely try it while you are there.
The town became famous in the past 20 years as an excellent windsurfing, surfing and now kitesurfing destination. It attracts professional sailors, as well as amateurs, who come to learn and improve their sailing skills. The perfect blending of the location, the offshore reef, the trade winds and the low-lying hills behind create an unusual combination of wind and wave conditions.
There are endless night clubs, bars, restaurants and beach parties. The night life doesn't stop here until sunrise! (Thank god the real wind also "sleeps in" to the early afternoon.)
When to go:
There are two windy seasons in Cabarete: winter and summer. The winter season stars from January to March. The summer season is from June to August. The best waves are in the winter and the best wind is in the summer season.
The months of April and May, and the period from September to the end of December, tend to be less reliable in terms of wind and kite surfing conditions. They can vary from not that great, to excellent, depending on the weather systems moving through the area.
The trade winds and thermals make for strong and consistent conditions. The wind blows easterly, which gives the place perfect side-onshore sailing conditions most of the time. Generally in the morning there is little to no wind. At around 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. the thermals pick up and make the wind a lot stronger reaching its peak (up to 22 knots) at about 4 p.m. Then the wind remains consistent until around 6:00 pm.
Cabarete can accommodate sailors of all levels of expertise. Beginners in the morning. Intermediate to Expert sailors in the afternoon. In the winter season there are great conditions to learn and practice wave sailing. There is also a world-class wave sailing on the reef. Consistent winds blow at that time averaging 13 - 17 knots. In the summer there is mostly flat water sailing. The winds average 13-22 knots.
The water is warm all year round averaging about 26°C (79°F), so there's no need to bring your wetsuit.
Cabarete hosts an annual weeklong windsurfing tournament every June. Only amateurs are allowed to participate. The Master of the Ocean competition aims to find the world's best overall water-sport athlete, with competitions in surfing, windsurfing and kiteboarding. Qualifiers take place at Cabarete Bay (27-28 February), before the finals at Playa Encuentro (29 February, 1-2 March).
Cabarete is an incredible place for families with kids. There are many activities to keep your kids entertained. For the smallest windsurfers, late spring and summer offer the best conditions. There is also a kids windsurfing camp in Cabarete.
Beaches to go:
Cabarete Bay. This bay is home to a wide variety of incredible windsurfing and kitesurfing. From one launch, you will find everything from flat water cruising to down-the-line wave sailing, depending on the season and the time of day. This 2 km (1.3 miles) wide bay has a nice sandy bottom. There is only a few spots of bare reef in the inner bay that are quite easy to avoid. The wind is usually side-onshore. All rentals, lessons, shops and other facilities are right here. There is probably the best selection of equipment anywhere outside of Maui! Shop around for the best selection and pricing of rental equipment before committing. You'll find an endless number of shops right on the beach.
The kitesurfing area of the bay is called Kite Beach. It is located at the west end of the bay. Kitesurfing schools and rentals are located at the Kite Beach.
Playa Encuentro beach is further west (10 minutes drive) and is a primarily a surfer’s destination. You can try your luck there as well. Be aware, that according to recent information a resort located at Playa Encuentro has privatized part of the public beach and has closed public access to part of the beach area.